Resume and Cover Letter Workshop COSC 2P50 Cover Letters • Always send a cover letter with each resume • Ensure the cover letter grabs the reader • Most important piece of the application package – usually gets the least amount of attention! G – Get the rez readers attention R – Research the target company and make the connection A – Align your skills with the needs of the employer B – Be brief, and make every word count Why Write a Cover Letter? Provides a tool for analysis of your: • Written communication skills • Organization skills • Abilities and accomplishments • Social skills • Focus and goals Cover Letter Format 1st Paragraph OPENING • Why you are writing • Position you are applying for • Where you saw posting/ad 2nd Paragraph EVIDENCE OF SKILLS / QUALIFICATIONS • Listed in the job description • May expect from qualified candidates • Don’t just put down a skill – provide evidence! • Not a laundry list! Cover Letter Format (2) 3rd Paragraph RESEARCH OF EMPLOYER • Common values and beliefs • What interests you about the employer • Why you would be a good fit for the company 4th Paragraph CLOSING • Request an interview • Thank the reader for his/her time • Indicate contact information – ie. Phone # and email Tips – Cover Letters No more then one page Address recipient by name and title - get gender right! Watch spelling, grammar, punctuation Create cover letter for each job – no generic cover letters Show your skills and qualifications not just job duties Proofread your letter, then proofread again, then get someone else to proofread Eliminate unnecessary repetition Include relevant / recent information only Remember it is a sales letter – focus on what you can offer the company, not what the company will do for you – BE PERSUASIVE! Use block formatting – all content is justified to the left The Resume Purpose = to get an interview A summary of your: Work Experience Achievements Skills Education Interests * Highlight aspect that best qualifies you for the position! * Remember Resumes = First Impression Resume Formats 1) Reverse Chronological - cites employment from the most recent back - shows dates as well as employers / educational institutions 2) Functional -ability focused -usually omits dates and employers, focuses on skills 3) Combination - a combination of the other two -shows timelines as well as dates Different Strokes for Different Folks Reverse Chronological - steady school / work record (excellent for rookies) - most popular with employers - good for traditional industries ie. Banks, Insurance comp. Functional - Able to remove work history that doesn’t apply to the job you are after - Skill sell is a magnet to the reader’s eye - Good for career changers, work history gaps Combination - good for rookies - may not be appreciated in more traditional industries Parts of Your Resume 1) CONTACT INFORMATION -name, mailing address, valid phone #, EMAIL address -may want to include school and perm address -no personal data: age, gender etc -ensure voice mail / email address is appropriate 2) OBJECTIVE OR CAREER INTERESTS (tells the employer what you are after) -should be brief, logical and clearly stated -express from the employer’s perspective -watch being too narrow or too broad -ensure that your provide evidence for the objective -career interests list areas of interest Parts of Your Resume (2) 3) PROFILE / COMPUTER & TECHNICAL SKILLS - focus on skills and where you developed them - avoid terms like “Hardworking, etc. unless you can prove it - for techies can have a separate section for computer skills 3 Types of Skills A) Subject specific – languages, computer skills, knowledge B) Functional – skills you take with you from one job to the next C) Personal Management – traits ie. Innovative, organized SHOULD TRY AND INCLUDE ALL 3 TYPES OF SKILLS Parts of Your Resume (3) 4) EDUCATION -date, full name of degree, institution, location -draw attention to degree not institution DATE – include months and years, expected April 2002 DEGREE – Spell out full name of degree INSTITUTION – Use complete title – Brock University LOCATION – City and Province • can include course work, thesis, project work • may want to include average • awards – ie. Dean’s List (3+ include separate heading) • include high school or not??? Parts of Your Resume (4) 5) AWARDS / HONOURS -3 or more include separate section called Awards / Honours -list name of award and why you received it -not only academic but other awards can be relevant 6) WORK EXPERIENCE -date, position, company, location -do not just list your job duties -include accomplishments, experience skills gained -start every sentence with a verb -most recent job first -relevant points first -avoid the use of periods, responsible for, duties included -2 sections – Career Related and Other Work Experience Parts of Your Resume (3) 7) ADDITIONAL SECTIONS (OPTIONAL) -volunteer experience (volunteer positions) -certificates (related to career objective) -professional development / affiliations -interest and activities (sports, hobbies) -additional qualifications (other skills, abilities) * GOOD TO INCLUDE AT LEAST A COUPLE OF OPTIONAL SECTIONS – SHOWS THAT YOU ARE A WELL ROUNDED PERSON Avoid Common Mistakes • Avoid slang, jargon • Use correct spelling, grammar and punctuation • Be honest • Use point form • Be brief and to the point • Remove I, a, an, for in descriptions • Focus on the job requirements • Max. 2 pages • Minimum font size 10 • Use white space • Be organized – have consistent order, layout and style • Put name, page # and phone on second page • Avoid words like various, numbers, assisted, involved A Little More About Skills Subject Specific Skills -Specialized capabilities, developed through education / training Language Computer skills Specific, technical tasks Some Skills You May Want to Include Programming Languages Software Application packages Databases Operating Systems Web Development Help Desk / Troubleshooting A Little More About Skills (2) Self Management Skills - Personal Attributes/Characteristics • Indicate how you relate to others, time and authority • Shape your attitudes Functional Skills • Abilities and skills developed through experience • Developed in one setting but applicable to other settings • May be developed at home, school, work or volunteer settings • Involves action verbs Examples of Good Skills GOOD • Project oriented – as demonstrated during my engineering internship, where I analyzed the problems, developed solutions, and coordinated the installation of the project BAD • Hard-working, organized, assertive etc. • Well developed leadership skills • Creative problem solver How to Submit a Resume Package 1.Email (larger companies) 2.Snail Mail 3.On line application form (larger organizations) 4.Fax EMAIL -be sure to send as an MS word attachment -Cover letter and resume should be 1 document -Subject line – position title -Body of email – Please find attached ONLINE APPLICATIONS -text file (cut and paste from resume) -fill out as much as possible -no formatting References • Place references on a separate page • Include your name and contact information at the top • Usually handed in at the interview stage – not when you are applying for the job Have 3 references • Work (preferred) • Academic (acceptable) • Personal (avoid if possible) • Ask to use someone as a reference first • Provide a current resume Questions?
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